County Badminton Report

The county first team edged a little closer to the Inter-County Championships "play-off" finals with an 11-4 away victory over the Leicestershire second string, who are now facing the prospect of relegation to Division 2.

The team got the match off to a great start with Ian Murphy, Julie Pike and Katherine Cooper all comfortably winning their games in two sets  The ladies, once again, showed their total domination in the level doubles with Pike and Louise Culyer and Cooper and Toni Sturgeon winning all four matches. Murphy and Justin Gerrard won both their games while Mike Philpott and Paul Daynes took both their games to three sets but they could not sustain the level required to topple the opposition.

Winning the tenth game to give Norfolk a three point match victory turned out to be a little harder than expected. Gerrard and Pike were up first but lost in three hard fought sets, leaving Philpott and Culyer to clinch all three points for Norfolk, coming out on top in their final set. Murphy and Cooper followed this up with a tricky two set victory to win the match 11-4.

This win puts Norfolk at the top of Division 1B  of the ICC with 16 points, well clear of their two nearest rivals, Hertfordshire and Middlesex, but both have games in hand and have yet to play each other. Norfolk's final match is a home game, also against Hertfordshire, on 20th March,and now becomes a "must win" game to avoid relying on other results. So, the stage is set for an exciting, nail-biting end to the season, with a place in the Premiership "play offs" as a reward for the table toppers.

*   The county Under 17s had mixed fortunes in their latest Shires League matches, beating Northamptonshire 16-4, but losing out to Nottinghamshire 5-15.  Norfolk had a good start to the match against Northants, winning all four mixed doubles matches  and then maintaining their dominance throughout. Three of the four boys singles were three setters, all won by Norfolk, with Nico Schilling showing great strength of character to come back from 13-19 in his third set to win 23-21. The girls shared their singles, two all, but then won all four level doubles, with the boys taking three.

But it was a different story in the match against Notts, who fielded a very strong side, which Norfolk couldn't match, losing out 5-15. The final score could have been a bit closer as all the four boys singles were three setters, all going to Notts. Playing for Norfolk in the two matches were: Rebecca Leers, Devon Minnis, Emma Piper, Lauren Read, Amy Sharman, Ed Allen, Tom Hinks, Nico Schilling, Ben Tozer, Sam Dismore and Chris Parrott.